John Deere offers new US$200m deal Mr van der Westhuizen

Farirai Machivenyika

Senior Reporter

Following the successful launch of the US$51 million facility for farm mechanisation, United States-headquartered company John Deere now wants to expand the programme to US$250 million to include the supply of mining and road construction equipment.

The present US$51 million deal with the company was officially launched by President Mnangagwa last week and is testimony of the success of the Government’s re-engagement drive, which saw the first batch of the equipment arriving in Zimbabwe early this year.

Now in a letter to Permanent Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, Mr George Guvamatanga, John Deere financial managing director for Sub Saharan Africa Mr Antois van der Westhuizen, after praising the way the Government was implementing the first deal, said the company wanted to expand the operation.

The offer to the Government includes an additional US$49 million for farm mechanisation, US$100 million for construction and mining equipment and US$50 million for road making equipment, taking the total to US$250 million.

He added that the offer would be subject to final credit approval by John Deere Financial if accepted by Government.

“John Deere has embraced confidence in the imminent recovery of the Zimbabwean economy through these three key sectors and our partnership will go a long way in achieving the economic recovery targets,” he said.

The present deal that is already easing equipment shortages among serious farmers, was signed following President Mnangagwa’s engagement with John Deere Agriculture Worldwide president Mr Mark von Pentz, who expressed his willingness to partner the Government in boosting the agriculture sector through mechanisation.

The facility through a local agent, Afgri Zimbabwe, will unlock 1 300 tractors, 80 combined harvesters, 600 planters, 200 disc harrows, 100 boom sprayers and 100 trailers.

It will be used by 5 000 farmers under the National Agriculture Recovery Plan, while the selection of beneficiaries will be based on creditworthiness of the farmers as assessed by CBZ and Stanbic Bank.

Agribank will establish a special equipment leasing vehicle for the purposes of mechanisation service provision, especially for combine harvesters.

In his letter to Mr Guvamatanga, Mr van der Westhuizen expressed his appreciation for the working relationship they have established with Government.

“The US$51 million facility for optimisation of farm mechanisation in Zimbabwe is in progression and the due diligence processes being conducted by the Government of Zimbabwe to guarantee the sustainability of this facility is captivating and absolutely depicts high levels of proficiency hence a successful programme is inevitable,” he said.

Mr Guvamatanga confirmed receipt of the letter but could not provide further comment.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza welcomed the proposed offer saying it would go a long way in boosting road construction projects being carried out countrywide.

“We have CMED that deals in equipment and hires out equipment to our departments including the private sector. We did put out a statement that we want to see it fairly capacitated.

“As you can see the potential and the massive road construction projects going on countrywide need efficient equipment and more of it,” he said.

John Deere local representative, Mr Graham Smith said the deal was a testimony of the excellent working relationship with Government and would further develop the mining sector and road construction projects in the country.

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